BORIS Johnson is battling the biggest Tory rebellion of his premiership after a ‘cut and paste’ impact report on the Tiers system failed to quell a revolt.
A hundred Tory MPs are threatening to vote down the ‘draconian’ new rules – with Labour piling the pressure on the PM by abstaining.
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Boris Johnson is battling the biggest Tory rebellion of his premiershipCredit: PA:Press Association
Furious MPs blasted the tough new Tiers system again yesterday – as the Government admitted they have no idea about the huge economic hit it would have.
Mr Johnson is now facing his biggest Tory revolt since he became PM with at least 75 demanding changes to the system.
Labour will lay bare Tory divisions by abstaining in tonight’s crunch votes on the new regional system.
The Government is still expected to win but Labour’s refusal to vote in favour is a further humiliation for the PM as it will expose the huge scale of the Tory rebellion.
Explaining why he is ordering his MPs to abstain, leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “We will always act in the national interest, so we will not vote against these restrictions in Parliament tomorrow.
“However, I remain deeply concerned that Boris Johnson’s government has failed to use this latest lockdown to put a credible health and economic plan in place.
“We still don’t have a functioning testing system, public health messaging is confused, and businesses across the country are crying out for more effective economic support to get them through the winter months.
“It is short-term government incompetence that is causing long-term damage to the British economy.”
The PM is offering pubs that cannot reopen in England’s Tier 2 or Tier 3 a one-off Christmas gift of around £1,000.
He offered the £1,000 gift in a bid to quell the fury.
In a separate bid to win over MPs, ministers had yesterday published a 48-page long “impact assessment” on what effect the new lockdown measures will have.
The Government hastily shoved out a 48-page document filled with “cut and paste” information from the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts and other Department of Health information.
It said: “While it is not possible to forecast the precise economic impact of a specific change to a specific restriction with confidence, it is clear that restrictions to contain COVID-19 have had major impacts on the economy and public finances.”
And the report argued: “It is not possible to know with any degree of confidence what path the economy would take if restrictions in place were not sufficient to prevent exponential growth or in the absence of restrictions entirely.”
It referenced stats from other economic documents released last week showing that GDP will fall by 11 per cent in 2020 – and unemployment will reach 7.5 per cent next year.
And it warned it will get worse than that prediction, saying that because “average restrictions in the UK are stricter than this, the short-term
economic costs are likely to be greater, and vice versa.”
It acknowledged the “knock-on implications” of restrictions on other health services, mental health and physical wellbeing as well as the economic impact, but failed to win over many furious Tory MPs.
The report showed pubs were the hardest hit industry from the lockdown, and stressed that with every rising per cent rise in unemployment, there was a two per cent rise in serious health conditions over time.
But it didn’t contain claims that Micheal Gove was told that 500,000 could lose their jobs if Tier 3 was shoved onto London, and didn’t reference the extra 50,000 which may still lose them.
In fact, the document was unable to provide any localised information at all.
Unemployment faces being higher than the 2.6 million predicted last week and the economic hit will be greater.
Frustrated MPs blasted the report as “rehashed” and “cooked up”.
One Tory MP said: “It reads like an essay from one of those essay-plagiarising websites.
“If anything it’s made the mood worse.”
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said ministers had done a “cut and paste job”.
Mark Harper of the Covid Recovery Group, blasted: “Even with so little time, the Government’s analysis seems to be collapsing under the glare of scrutiny.
“Before the current lockdown, incorrect death and hospital capacity modelling was leaked into the public domain to justify it, we asked for full details. We have asked repeatedly for the information that vindicates these hospital projections and they have not been forthcoming.
“We are now seeing that, once again, the wheels are coming off the Government’s arguments.”
MPs had demanded information on the economic consequences of lockdown for weeks.